Philippine volleyball

Valdez, Morado return to national team pool for Hanoi SEA Games

JR Isaga
Valdez, Morado return to national team pool for Hanoi SEA Games

BACK IN ACTION. Alyssa Valdez prepares to serve in the Philippines-Thailand match in the 2019 SEA Games.

Michael Gatpandan/Rappler

Controversially excluded from the national pool last year, volleyball stars Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado return to the Philippine roster for the SEA Games

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine national volleyball team stars Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado have been included in the latest player pool roster released by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) on Sunday, January 30.

This comes after the longtime college and professional teammates were controversially excluded from the pool for the 2021 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship due to the federation’s search for “younger and taller” players.

Now with Valdez and Morado back in the mix, the national team will be bannered by old reliables like Jaja Santiago, Aby Maraño, Kalei Mau, and Dindin Santiago-Manabat as the team builds up for the Southeast Asian Game in Hanoi, Vietnam this May.

Deanna Wong, Dawn Macandili, Kim Kianna Dy, Kat Tolentino, and Jema Galanza round out the roster with Kath Arado, Iris Tolenada, Jasmine Nabor, Dell Palomata, Ria Meneses, Ces Molina, Monique Dongallo, Mylene Paat, and Jelaica Gajero.

Twenty names have also been tapped for the men’s team, including mainstays like Bryan Bagunas, Marck Espejo, John Vic De Guzman, Rex Intal, Ish Polvorosa Kim Malabunga, Joshua Retamar, Ricky Marcos, and Joshua Umandal.

The star duo of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons lead the women’s beach volleyball pool along with Dji Rodriguez and Jovelyn Gonzaga, while James Buytrago, Jaron Requinton, Krung Arbastro, and Jude Garcia banner the men’s pool.

Here’s the complete roster, with the PNVF releasing hours later that Merry Rose Jauculan should have been included in the beach volleyball lineup instead of Baby Love Barbon: 

PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said the coaching staff recommended additional pool members as several collegiate players won’t be available during the training and competition for the SEA Games set from May 12 to 25.

“It’s unfortunate that our promising young players from the collegiate leagues couldn’t join the pool, and the SEA Games for that matter, because their respective leagues are resuming their competitions before the Hanoi Games,” said Suzara, noting the absence of several UAAP and NCAA standouts.

The men’s and women’s indoor volleyball teams will be coached by Dante Alinsunurin and Jorge Edson Souza de Brito, respectively, while Paul Jan Doloiras and Rhovyl Verayo will respectively head the women’s and men’s beach volley teams.

Souza de Brito selected the new members of the pool. 

Only 14 indoor volleyball players will be picked for each gender in the final SEA Games roster, while four men and four women – two teams each – will be named for beach volleyball.

The final list of names must be submitted to the Hanoi SEA Games organizers by March 12. 

The men’s indoor volleyball team made headlines in the 30th SEA Games hosted by the Philippines in 2019 after it dethroned the mighty Thais in the semifinals, and ultimately settled for a historic silver medal finish after losing to Indonesia.

Both beach volley teams took home bronze in the biennial meet while the women’s indoor volley team finished out of the podium in the four-country race. –

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